There has been some significant reporting in the media about the abuse cases that have been revealed to have taken place in a boarding school run by the Salesians of Don Bosco in the 1960s and 1970s. I have refrained from reporting on it until now, in part because I’m waiting for the letter that Pope Benedict has written to the faithful of Ireland. It is rumoured that, following the abuse cases in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, that letter will be aimed at faithful everywhere, and not just to those in Ireland. A publication is expected sometime this week.
Yesterday, Bishop Ad van Luyn of Rotterdam, chairman of the Dutch bishops’ conference, has spoken about the case on TV. The bishops’ conference is meeting about this topic tomorrow, so the statement from Msgr. van Luyn are nothing more than his own opinion.
He said, among other things: “It is the duty of the Church to condemn this abuse clearly and forever, and also to offer apologies and to take any steps to assure prevention in the future.”
“Personally, I am convinced that an independent investigation would best meet the justified expectations of the victims, society and also the church community.”
To the victims he said: “I think that, in the first place, the victims should meet with those now responsible for those institutions where these things happened. A meeting that is both honest and transparent, that leads to recognition of the facts, that leads to apologies for the suffering afflicted, and that leads to compensation where possible.”
From Rome, Cardinal Kasper has spoken especially forcefully against child abuse by clerics. he called it “criminal, shameful and unacceptable,” and indicated that the pope will be acting decisively, as he did towards the case in Ireland, where several bishops were called to step down because of their silence.